The same networking systems that allow modern cars to communicate with services like OnStar also allow the cars to be hacked. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego were able to take control of cars' computer systems—remotely forcing the vehicles to brake, shutting down the engines, and even disabling the brakes altogether. The team analyzed the security risks inherent in modern automobiles and published a paper explaining their findings. You can read it online. (Via Erin Biba)
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.